Friday, October 8, 2010

Flat surfaces

 I love organisation. I dream of a permanently organised home, with a place for everything and everything in its place. If you walk into a shop like Kikki K and take a look at their displays where they have a desk with paper trays and pencil boxes and no clutter and everything looking nice; that’s the kind of setup I want with all my heart. Neat and calm and lovely.
Now, very few people have anything that organised on a 24/7 basis, but it’s even harder for me. Generally, we put it down to the ADHD, though we weren't sure specifically which part of the ADHD it related to. After reading this post (step 3, in particular) my fiancé realised one of the key problems that I have: I treat all flat surfaces equally. 
If it is a flat surface, I will put something on it and usually just forget about it, because I have other things to do and the very reason I put something on the surface in the first place is that I was already distracted by something else and needed my hands free to get on with it.
My housemate has to keep reminding me not to leave the lids of plastic tubs (in which we freeze leftovers) on top of the microwave. I’ve also left work papers there, my phone, and even my laptop.
And a flat surface doesn’t always mean a clear bench top or top of an appliance: If I have a stack of papers on the table, well, the top of that is flat as well and will be utilised as such. And the surface doesn’t have to span a larger area than the item I’m placing there... This also makes mess harder to see through when you're searcing for something. The world is, as far as my brain is concerned, just a series of flat surfaces that are intermittently broken up by some not-so-flat surfaces, or flat surfaces at different angles.
And, when I tidy, I do so by finding the appropriate flat surface to put something on. Urgh.

I also treat my fiancé as a flat surface - I just hand things to him when I'm done with them, but then he asks me what I want him to do with it and, well, I hadn't really thought that far ahead... I just didn't want it in my hands any more! I'm not entirely sure he appreciates it...

I was glad when we got him his own wardrobe. Not just because it meant he had somewhere to put his clothes, but because I had more places to put mine. No, I do not put my clothes in his wardrobe. I put them on top of his wardrobe.
No wonder everything is always cluttered.


  1. "I also treat my fiancé as a flat surface"


  2. It's true. Fortunately for me, I'm wise to it now and whenever Quincy goes to hand me something I make sure it's something I want or should have, and if it isn't I remind her I'm not a flat surface.

  3. "a place for everything and everything in its place"

    So, do you have a place for everything? If you did realise that you're about to put something down where it doesn't belong, would you be able to immediately name where it does? If you can't, you probably shouldn't blame yourself for just putting it down anywhere...

    If you do have a place for everything, perhaps train yourself to get distracted by "ooh, that doesn't belong there" and carrying it in the direction of where it does?

  4. Sorry Sabik, my brain doesn't quite work that way :-p At the time, my brain's already stopped treating whatever I'm holding as what it is, and processes it only as something which shouldn't be in my hand :-p

  5. Sure; but do you have a place for everything?

    People tend to forget that half of the saying... and without the first half, the second half can never happen.

    If you don't have a place for everything, putting things on the nearest flat surface is actually the correct thing to do, so not spending any thought on it is actually ideal :-)

  6. Funnily enough, I have a place for all the things I usually misplace :-p

    I do have a place for everything, but these places aren't precision points - there're surrounded by regions within which it is acceptable to put things :-p

  7. Ah, in that case yes, you do have a problem. Train yourself to get distracted by "ooh, that doesn't belong there" and carrying it in the direction of where it does? With any luck that might balance the other habit...

  8. Believe me, that's really not how it works :-p One of the key problems with ADHD is that I can't choose what I pay attention to - if I could have done this, I would have done it years ago :-p

  9. No worries. Sometimes trying to work with things rather than against them works, and sometimes it doesn't...

  10. Rig up all the flat surfaces in your house to an alarm system. Whenever something is being put down on a flat surface, the alarm will ask you politely in an Optus Voicemail Voice, "Now Quincy, does that really belong here?"

  11. hehehe Miriam, I like the way you think :-p

    One thing Oolon doesn't realise is that, when he does rebel against being my Portable Flat Surface, it confuses my brain!!!! I have to find a new flat surface, when my brain was just congratulating itself on having done a really good job at removing the offending object from my hand :-p

    Oolon, darling, dearest: Please be my PFS for life? <3

  12. I do realise that, the idea is not only to avoid being your PFS, but to confuse your brain into actually having to think about what it is you're trying to get rid of, which increases the likelihood it will actually end up somewhere it could be reasonably said to belong. I'd say it's starting to work about 40% of the time, which isn't too bad.

  13. You seem to think that this will have long-term effects :-p I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm afraid I will ;-)